Saturday, April 15, 2017

RI Author Feature: Mad Tales by Joseph Mazzenga

Synopsis: "Join in four compelling tales as nature, time, and space all collide to bring you from the teetering edge of reality to the darkest hours of the night…

Spike wanted power and control. He and his gang, Bonnie, Moose and Skink, found it in the form of the sleepy town called Pepperell. But this town has a secret…a secret they want to keep forever.

Invasion of Blood:
The human race had come to an end. That much was certain. Centuries of culture, ingenuity, and bloodshed were all gone. Erased. A mere fabrication of universal imagination.

This was the final campaign for V’ry Captain M’Tal and his crew. A definitive conquering point to his celebrated career. What he didn’t count on was the last stand from a band of beings left on a sloppy little planet called Earth.

M’Tal hated humans. They should have been eradicated by the V’ry onslaught. He would make these humans pay for surviving the V’ry genocide.
There was just one troubling aspect…the survivors weren’t human.

When the Music Dies:
Dana is single, beautiful, professional law enforcement officer and deeply disturbed. With her body losing life slowly, her demons are in the playground of her mind intent on torturing her last days. Her friends and family are temporary salves to her inner wounds but in the end, only Dana can save herself. She’s looking for a fight and the battleground is in her mind.

Bloody Depths:
Maren’s home was the ocean that she loved. An oceanographer, she lived her dream of being one with the sea until the day an ill fog rolled in to change her life forever.

She lost everything she knew - her family, her friends and her humanity.
All that remains is her love of the sea, and a fading hope that the humanity within her can be saved by the caretakers of the ocean that no one knew existed.

Plus all new epilogues...the maddening story continues….."

My Review: I picked up this book at a local RI Author event, I am not normally a suspense or horror reader but I figured a collection of short stories was a great way to try out a new genre and author. All of the stories were very engrossing and while they were short, the stories were still completely satisfying to read, I didn't feel like I was left short changed. I really enjoyed the Bloody Depth's story, it was fascinating and a very interesting take on what goes on in the depths of the ocean. I also found the Pepperell story to be really intriguing, it keeps you in suspense and then sends shivers down your spine when you figure out what is going on. This was a really great collection of short stories, they were all cohesive and yet unique in their own ways.
My Rating: While I don't normally enjoy horror or suspense books this collection of short stories was an enjoyable trip into the genre.  I like that they are short but they are still complete stories, it was also nice that I knew the ending (even if a little creepy) and didn't end up with nightmares.  I give this book a rating of Four Paws.
You can learn more about Joseph Mazzenga and his work on his Goodread Page or Website.
You can also obtain your own copy of Mad Tales in digital or print format from Amazon or see if your local bookseller can order a copy for you.

Friday, April 14, 2017

RI Author Feature: Bedtime Story: Monster Trucks by Anika Denise

Synopsis: "Readers will delight in this lively read-aloud story with a clever and surprising twist at the end—perfect for Halloween and year round!

Ready, set, go! The monster truck race is on in this frightfully delightful picture book. On a spooky speedway, Monster Trucks moan! Monster Trucks grumble! Monster Trucks groan!

Join Frankentruck, Zombie Truck, Ghost Truck, and more as they race to the finish line. But one of these trucks isn’t quite who you think."

My Review: I love supporting local authors but when a local author comes out with a book that is perfect for Munchkin I have to get it! This book was fun and a unique take on Monster Trucks. Munchkin loved each of these trucks and while this book is more appropriate for Halloween time, we read it throughout the year. It has a fun rhyme that makes it easy and enjoyable to read.
My Rating: This is definitely one of Munchkin's favorites and I find myself reading it with him rather often.  I would love to see more with these characters.  We give it a rating of Four Paws!
You can learn more about Anika Denise and her work on her Goodreads Page and Website.
You can also get your own copy of Monster Trucks in print format from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

RI Author Feature: Fables and Fiction by Rich Feitelberg

Synopsis: "Fables and Fiction collects several general fiction short stories, fables, and fairy tales. In this volume:
The Witch and the Farmer -- A farmer steals from a local witch and suffers the consequences.
The Monster -- Mother and Father are having their first child; Madame Mercury says it will be a monster and to destroy it. They can't and must deal with the results.
The Karma Fairy -- Russell steals content from the Internet illegally, damaging his karma. He has only one chance, to delete the content and hope he finds the one thing he really wants: true love.
English Major -- Rich is struggling in his freshman English class and lies to get through it hoping at last he'll have proof he doesn't belong in college. But his lies are convincing and he does not see what consequence they will have.
Fairy Dust -- Eugene conceives a plan to collect fairy dust to change the world. However, the fairies who must adhere to this scheme have other ideas.
Quantum -- Doug discovers the equation physicists have been longing for; a unified field theory. Only it gives him the Power of God and he can't control it. Suddenly other universes threaten to invade his own.
The Mouse with Cold Feet -- Henry must find a way to live in a house with a man and a hunting cat and still provide food for his wife, who is expecting a litter soon.
Getting Even -- Stan kills his partner, Steve. Some say it is PTSD, others think he's anti-social. Ultimately it is up to a jury to decide.
Sex Contracts -- Tim's film agent, Sally, is exposed for requiring sex as a condition for representing them. Tim tries to avoid getting involved, but he receives a summons and must testify hoping it does not affect his career as well."
My Rating: In the past I haven't always been the biggest fan of short story collections, but now I have read a few by Rich Feitelberg and found a new appreciation for them.  This is an interesting collection of short stories, they range from fiction to a little bit of fantasy and a couple have the feel of classic fables.  I really enjoyed these stories and it is fun to read one or two a night, some of them are only a few pages long.  I think my favorites might be the Witch and the Farmer and The Mouse with Cold Feet, they just happen to be the ones that are more like classic fables.  The other stories were great too and it allows you the opportunity to try slightly different sub-genres in fiction literature.
My Rating: Not all the stories were quite to my liking but as a whole I really enjoyed this collection.  I give it a rating of Four Paws.
You can find out more about Rich Feitelberg and his work on his Goodreads Page or Website.
I purchased my print copy at the RI Author Expo but you can obtain a copy in digital format from Amazon.  If you really want it in print, I bet you could contact Rich directly to purchase a copy (I promise he is very nice and will be helpful). 
Also don't forget to enter my giveaway for an ebook of your choice by Rich Feitelberg!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

RI Author Feature: Rich Feitelberg, Author of the Aglaril Cycle - Excerpt & Giveaway

Hello and welcome back, I have a special treat for you today.  I posted a review yesterday of a book called Calen the Emerald by Rich Feitelberg, the fourth book in his Aglaril Cycle series.  If you have been following me for a while you know I have been avidly following this series and I would love to share more with you.  Mr. Feitelberg was so kind as to allow me to share a little excerpt with you from this series, and maybe you will see why I am so engrossed in the series.  After the Excerpt (from the first book in the series so no worries about spoilers) I will have a little giveaway for you!
 You can find out more about Rich and his works on Goodreads Page or Website.
Rich Feitelberg is a poet and novelist. In addition to the books in his popular fantasy series, the Aglaril Cycle, Rich has several collections of short stories and poems, available from this web site and fine booksellers worldwide.
Rich has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Worcester State College. His Master of Arts in Technical Communication was received at Bowling Green State University. Currently, Rich is working on the Aglaril Cycle and writing more poems and short stories.

You can also contact and follow Rich Feitelberg on Twitter @Feitelberg or on Facebook.
Excerpt from Aure the Topaz, Book One of the Aglaril Cycle:
Chapter 1
Audience with His Grace
The audience hall in Wrightwood Manor was large and stately.White marble with red veins covered the floor and a narrow redcarpet ran down the middle of the chamber from the large double doors at the back, to the dais at the front.
The doors opened and Father Evan Pierce, a priest of the Order of St. Michael and a demon hunter, strode into the room followed by one hundred Michaeline knights. Each knight wore a breastplate of polished metal emblazoned with a silver sword. The group clanked and clanged across the hall until they reached the end of the carpet.
At the foot of the dais, Evan knelt on one knee and bowed his head. The knights behind him did the same.
“Your Grace,” said Evan.
Seated atop the dais in an elegantly carved chair of bone and ivory, His Grace, Duke Wrightwood looked at the others in the hall dispassionately. He gestured with one hand. “Arise and report. How fared you in the Mirean ruins?”
Evan stood and smiled. “Very well, Your Grace. We captured two necromancers and killed two others. The pentagram they were preparing was cleansed and destroyed, thereby thwarting any plans they had for using it.”
His Grace pursed his lips. “And what of their leader, Jormundan? Captured or killed?”
The Michaeline priest sighed and frowned. “Neither, I’m afraid. He escaped, vanishing like a ghost at the end of a difficult battle that almost killed Sir Ahlan and me.”
Duke Wrightwood’s jaw tensed a little at this news and his blue eyes flashed with a fire Evan knew well. "Then we have no clues as tohis plans for stealing magic jewelry of great power.”
“Not exactly, Your Grace. Because we forced him to flee, he left behind his horse. Inside one of the saddlebags, we found a message to him.” Evan drew out a scroll from behind his belt and handed the parchment to a nearby page, who presented it to Duke Wrightwood.
His Grace snatched up the document. He unrolled the scroll and read the message.
I believe I have found what we have been seeking these many
months. If the stories I’ve heard are true, the prize is in the port
town of C. I am sailing there now and should arrive in a few days
to confirm. I will rendezvous with you at the standard location
outside the town of S.
Sailor’s Guild
Duke Wrightwood lowered the parchment and looked blankly at Evan. “This would seem to confirm the intelligence I’ve already received. Jormundan is in league with thieves.”
“Yes, and they plan to steal something soon,” noted the demon hunter.
“We just don’t know what,” observed His Grace. “Based on earlier reports, it could be magic jewelry or a magic gem.”
“We also don’t know where the theft will be,” added Evan.
His Grace raised an eyebrow. “Does it matter? I can think of several towns of C and they are all too far away and not within the Duchy. So even if you could arrive in time to stop the theft, you’d have no jurisdiction.”
“What about Clearbrook? I know it’s unlikely, but it is worth investigating.”
Duke Wrightwood sighed. “All right. It is worth being certain. Take your men and head out immediately.”
Evan paused and His Grace sensed the priest had something else on his mind. “Is there something more?”
“Only a small indulgence, Your Grace.”
“Go on.”
“The people of Clearbrook are gentle folk. Marching into town with one hundred men will cause quite a commotion, possibly to the point of dissuading the thief from acting. Since our only hope of finding Jormundan now is to capture the thief, I suggest I go to Clearbrook myself, under the presumption that I’m there to rest.”
Duke Wrightwood briefly considered this idea and then shook his head. “No. You’ll need the support of a few knights — Sir Ahlan, Sir Ambrose, and Sir Geoffrey at the very least.”
“While they are all fine knights, I’m certain I can get the support I need from the town guard. A lieutenant in the guard there is an old friend of mine. I can also travel faster alone.”
His Grace rubbed his chin, considering Evan’s words. “You’ll be taking a big risk. But, as you say, it is doubtful they would go to such a sleepy and quiet town. Very well. Go to Clearbrook alone and investigate any unusual activities there. If the thief does show up, apprehend him and keep him from stealing the magic item he wants.”
Evan bowed. “Thank you, Your Grace. I’ll leave at once.”
So what do you think? Might want to give it a try? There are currently 4 books out in this 8 book series (and I may have heard some murmurs that the next book may be out before the end of the year). So if you think you might want to pick up one of Rich's books, I have a perfect giveaway for you!
I will be giving away an ebook copy one of Rich's books, your choice as to which one (in case you already have one or two, he also has several short story collections (one will be featured tomorrow) and poetry books).
Of course with anything else we have rules
~You must be 18 or older to enter (though there is nothing adult included)
~Enter the giveaway via the below Rafflecopter methods
 ~This is open internationally too
~Giveaway ends midnight on the 16th, winners will be announced the next day (I will be contacting you via email after the announcement for your selection and delivery)

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

RI Author Feature: Calen the Emerald by Rich Feitelberg

Reviews of the Previous Books:
Synopsis: "Sir Ahlan and his companions discover a troop of dead gnomes. A message found among them identifies the deceased party as couriers carrying a map that leads to the next Aglari. The gnomes appear to have been killed by wolves until Brashani finds an arrowhead in the ground. Realizing bandits are involved, Ahlan considers tracking them but dismisses the idea as impractical. It is only after Nancy and Iriel fail to return to camp, while collecting firewood, that the knight is forced to pursue the thieves, unlocking an adventure through the Gods' Home forest-and a nearby swamp in a race to the magic gem."

My Review: I have been avidly following this series since the beginning and I am always looking forward to reading the next book. This book seems like a little bit of transition book but it didn't drag things down like a transition book normally does, which is such a relief. This book seems to focus more on the internal turmoil that the characters are facing as well as building upon the interactions and relationships between them. We also get a glimpse into the other side of the quest, those that our characters have been trying to beat in this quest for the gems. I really enjoyed this look into the other side, it gives the storyline a little more of a sense of urgency than it had in previous books. The characters are also really starting to push themselves and each other to test their limitations and push beyond them, it is really great to see them all developing as the series continues. I am very excited that we are now halfway through the series and the momentum seems to be building, I can't wait to read the next book!
My Rating: I really enjoyed this book and what it added to the series. The integration of the evil side's storyline really added to the story and the urgency to get to the end.  I give this one a rating of Four Paws!
You can find out more about Rich Feitelberg and his work on his Goodreads Page or Website.
You can also obtain your own copy of this and the rest of the books in the series (so far) in print or digital formats from Amazon or Barnes & Noble or contact your local book supplier (or stick around over the next couple of days for a giveaway).

Monday, April 10, 2017

Monday Reading List

Its Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Shelia at Book Journey. Share what books you have finished in the last week, are currently reading and what might be coming up next!

Reviews Posted Last Week:
Links will take you to my review

How My Dorky Dad Became a Hero by Steve Hague
A Grocery List and Other Poems by Adele M. Bourne
Maid for Love by Marie Force
Cody the Cloud by Kevin Mulhern (Bedtime Story)
A Cricket's Thanksgiving by Leo C. Frisk, Jr.
 Books Finished Last Week:
Reviews will be posted at a later date

A Court of Thorns and Roses
More than Peaches
Fire Engine No. 9
Irish Rising

Currently Reading:

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - Print - on page 603 of 870
Keeper by Ellen Jensen Abbott - Audio - 52%
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - Print - on page 34 of 552

 Books to be Read Soon:

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
The Sculptor
A Court of Mist and Fury

Pages Read/ Time Listened
91:45 Hours Listened (none listened this week)
16,742 Pages Read (1,172 this week)

Books Added to Shelves This Month
Beauty and the Beast by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by JK Rowling
Samurai Rising by Pamela Turner
The Mating by BJ Cunningham & Misty Clark
Hold Your Breath by Katie Ruggle
Fan the Flames by Katie Ruggle
Keeper by Ellen Jensen Abbott
Love and Muddy Puddles by Cecily Paterson
Dawn Study by Maria V. Snyder
Irish Rising by Marie Rose Dufour
The Sculptor by Scott McCloud
Huck: Book 1- All American by Mark Millar

Books Read From My Shelves
A Court of Thorns and Roses
More Than Peaches

Interesting Tidbits on the Web:



It was another pretty darn good reading week last week, though it wasn't quite as great as I had hoped, I wanted to finish all my current reads before I started the Tome Topple Readathon over the weekend. Oh well, I don't mind reading multiple books at one time and I don't think I will have any problem finishing my TBR for the readathon this time around.

I must admit though, I almost slipped into a reading slump last week. I know, it is crazy, that NEVER happens to me but I was kind of bored with the books I was reading and nothing I picked up really appealed to me.  Well that is until I started reading ACOTAR! I get it now! I totally get what everyone has been raving about! I am sorry it took me so long to start this series, but after being very disappointed in the Throne of Glass series I had a hard time convincing myself to pick this one up.  Granted I am kind of glad I only have a short wait for the final book in the series. And you will all have to wait for my complete series review for my full thoughts (or you can always visit my Goodreads).

Anyway, we have another busy week this week. Munchkin starts TBall practices this week. Hubby is working a ridiculous amount and I am holding the fort down and tackling my Tome pile!

Hope you are all enjoying my RI Author month so far, and will stay tuned for some of my upcoming features (including a giveaway)!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Tome Topple Readathon Sign Up & Updates

It seems like it has been forever since I last participated in a Readathon.
I found the Tome Topple Readathon when it took place last fall but I wasn't able to participate that time, so I am really glad I am able to join this time around.  I discovered the Tome Topple Challenge through Sam at Thoughts on Tomes on Youtube and the Readathon is hosted as a Goodreads Group.
The goal for this challenge is to tackle the Tomes on your shelf, books over 500 pages.  There are a few challenges to help you along, but are not a requirement.  Those challenges are A) read 2 or more tomes, B) read a Graphic Novel, C) buddy read a tome, D) read a tome that is part of a series, and E) read an adult tome. The readathon takes place from April 7th at midnight until April 20th.  I will be updating at the bottom of this page with my progress every few days.
So here is my Tower of Tomes to be Toppled:
 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - 652 pages
The Book Thief - 552 pages
A Court of Mist and Fury - 626 pages
The Sculptor - 496 pages (I know a couple pages shy but I already read Blankets)

I also have a couple others for backup:
Outlander - 896 pages
The Kingmaking - 574 pages

Are you participating in the Tome Topple? If yes what are you reading? If not what would be your tome choice? What chunky book do you find intimidating?